What events in The Outsiders show Ponyboy as heroic and good?

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There are several scenes in the novel that depict Ponyboy as a hero and morally-upright person. The most obvious example of Pony being portrayed as a hero takes place in chapter six when he discovers that the abandoned church is on fire. After a bystander informs Pony and Johnny that children are trapped inside the burning church, they courageously enters the flaming building to save the children. Despite the danger, Pony risks his own life to save the children and narrowly escapes the church before it collapses to the ground. The local newspaper recognizes Pony's heroics and mentions his valiant exploits in a front-page article.

Another scene that depicts Pony behaving courageously takes place in chapter nine when he participates in the rumble. Despite being extremely ill and exhausted, Pony refuses to let his friends down by joining them in the rumble. Pony once again demonstrates his selfless, loyal personality by helping his friends defeat the Socs. Ponyboy's morally-upright, compassionate personality is depicted during his interactions with Cherry, Randy, and Johnny. Ponyboy sympathizes with all three characters and offers them words of encouragement when they are facing adversity.

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I think the best situation to use as proof of Ponyboy's heroism and upstanding moral character is the burning church sequence. Ponyboy and Johnny are on the run after Johnny stabs and kills a Soc to save Ponyboy's life. They are hiding out in an abandoned church. After awhile, they are able to leave the church and return home. But as they are leaving the church, Johnny and Ponyboy realize that the church is on fire and that a group of children have wandered into the structure. Without any thought for their own personal safety, Ponyboy and Johnny rush back into the church and save the children. That's an act of heroism and clearly shows that Ponyboy cares for other people more than he cares for himself.

Ponyboy's interactions with Cherry also show that he is a good person. He treats her with respect and dignity. He doesn't try to woo her with dirty talk like the other Greasers, and he doesn't cast her off as some Soc that doesn't know anything either. Pony treats her fairly.

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In S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders, how is Ponyboy heroic?

In S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel of growing up amid conflict between social classes, Ponyboy Curtis definitely qualifies as heroic.  The Outsiders is a tragic story, but one that emphasizes the love of the Curtis brothers for each other and the sacrifices the “Greasers” are willing to make for each other in the face of social-economic conditions that make them outcasts in their own town.  Ponyboy and his older brothers, Darrel and Sodapop, live together following the deaths of their parents and try their best to overcome innumerable obstacles, not least of which is the frequent tensions among them as they attempt to coexist. 

Ponyboy is the story’s narrator.  When he his friend Johnny are forced to flee the town and hide following Johnny’s stabbing of a “Soc” who was holding Ponyboy’s head underwater, the two pass their time reading Gone With The Wind, playing poker and sharing their thoughts.  It is when their older and tougher friend Dallas shows up at their hiding place and drives them back towards town that Ponyboy and Johnny’s defining moment arises.  The two boys, Ponyboy in the lead, enter a flaming Church and rescue four or five children trapped inside among the burning rubble.  Ponyboy describes the sensations of entering the burning church and searching for the missing children:

“ . . . we started stumbling through the church. I should be scared, I thought with an odd detached feeling, but I'm not. The cinders and embers began falling on us, stinging and smarting like ants. Suddenly, in the red glow and the haze, I remembered wondering what it was like in a burning ember, and I thought: Now I know, it's a red hell. Why aren't I scared?”

As Ponyboy and Johnny rescue each of the children, carefully carrying them to a broken window and lowering them outside to safety, Dallas pleads with them to forget the children and save themselves:

“ . . . Dally was standing there, and when he saw me he screamed, ‘For Pete’s sake, get outa there!  That roofs gonna cave in any minute.  Forget those blasted kids!”

“I didn’t pay any attention, although pieces of the old roof were crashing down too close for comfort.”

Ponyboy’s actions were heroic in every sense of the word.  He risked his life so that others would be spared the horrendous fate of burning to death.

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